Newfoundland Holiday Traditions

Newfoundland Holiday Traditions

cabbageBy Debbie Stewart

My all time favorite holiday food is none as "Jiggs Dinner" It is an all day affair usually in many Newfoundlanders homes. Kitchens fill with the smells of cooked cabbage, boiled vegetables and salt beef boiling away on Moms hot stove. Along with the peas pudding and homemade bread aroma not to far off in the distance. Blankets of condensation steam the windows..

The door is always opened for passerbyers,friends,family and neighbors. Hospitality is an every day accurance in this fine province. In Newfoundland when theres a 'skoff' planned (referred to by many Newfoundlanders as an awesome meal on its way) there's is most often leftovers. Always too much cooked! The best part of the meal is the homemade desserts that are placed onto the counters with piping hot tea on the stove, its usually the time for stories and laughter to be shared by all.

Many folks who leave the province talk about the Jiggs Dinners they miss and long to have. Its a good thing!

Newfoundland Jigg’s Dinner

serves 8 People

Ingredients: 2 hrs cooking time

1 Large Pot

12 potatoes

1 large turnip

2 lbs. salt beef or salt riblets

12 small carrots

2 cabbage

split peas pudding (not a pudding;served as a mashed vegetable)

Cooking Method:

Soak the salt meat in ice cold water over night (6 to 8 hours). Throw out the water in the morning. Place the salt meat in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Place the pot with the salt meat on the stove. Bring to a boil.

Next prepare the vegetables. Peel and clean the turnip, parsnip, carrot and potato. Cut the turnip into 1/2" thick slices. If the carrots and potatoes are large, cut them in half or quarters. Clean and cut the cabbage into quarters or sixths, depending on the size or (if you are using turnip greens, separate and clean the turnip greens.)

beefAdd the vegetables to the salt meat, adding more water if necessary. (I would add them in the last 45 mins. of cooking).How long you cook the vegetables is a matter of personal taste, so you have to judge when to add them by how long you want them to cook. Some people like them cooked until they are soft and mushy and some like them crunchy. (Although the longer they are boiled, the less nutrition they have.)

First add the turnip, carrot and parsnip, about 15 mins later the potatoes and the cabbage or turnip greens. Best served hot.....all is cooked together in the same pot...once cooking is completed; vegetables and meat is picked out of pot with a slotted spoon. Be prepared for a meal that will tantalize your tastebuds.

Peas Pudding:

Wash and rinse yellow split in a small pot and bring to boil. (follow bag instructions)..Once they are cooked(soft ) drain water,if any. Mash peas..add butter. High in protein& vitamins!



1/2 to 1 cup of salt pork, INSTRUCTIONS:


Take white bread dough(FROM BREAD ALREADY PREPARED EARLIER THAT MORNING) that has risen and is ready to go in the pans, and cut off small pieces (about the size of an egg) and flatten to around 1/2" thickness. Drop the toutons into the frying pan and brown on both sides. Serve the toutons with butter and molasses or HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM.

Figgy Duff

Duffs can be cooked in regular molded pudding steamers, or it can be boiled in a pudding bag with Jiggs Dinner. My Dad's favourite meal (and I am sure the favourite meal of many other Newfoundlanders) was roast beef and gravy cooked with Jiggs Dinner, and a boiled duff. The duff was served with the dinner, not as a dessert.


1/2 tsp. of allspice, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup of shortening(tenderflake), 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3 tbsp. milk, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of boiling water.


Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, salt. In a large mixing bowl cream together shortening and sugar. Add the egg and molasses and mix. Add the sifted flour and the milk alternately. Stir in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Fold in 1 cup of raisins.Place in pudding mold and steam for 2 hours, or place in pudding bag and steam in boiling Jiggs Dinner for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.Serve either as a dessert with whipped cream or with dinner.

Enjoy these traditional Newfoundland recipes.

Happy Holidays,

Debbie Stewart

About the author

Debbie Stewart is one of our visitors to the website, and she generously agreed to share her family recipes and traditions with us. Thanks Debbie!

Back to The Holiday Index!



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